Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ten Thousand Hours

I was just reading an artist blog that referenced Malcolm Gladwell's calculation that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery. Such a large number feels unfathomable. But if I figure out how many hours there are in a year (8760--not counting any leap  nonsense), I can wrap my head around the figure. Still it feels unhelpful in the same way as thinking that one spends a third of one's life in bed (by which is meant asleep).

Ten thousand hours. Is this the same thing as infinity when you're at the beginning of artistic desire? But on another shore (not opposite because that would mean the end), I calculate again.

If I say it's been 30 years that I've been working on poems--returning, writing, scratching out, throwing away--that comes to 333.33 hours per year. 333.33 hours--underlining, using the dictionary, wishing I believed in the muse (not really), cutting and pasting--divided by 12 months, comes out to 27.77 hours per month--rethinking, sending out, making sound lists, rejecting, counting lines--which would be less than an hour a day.

So I may have put the time in already which comes as a suprise to me.

Of course achieving "mastery" is another long discussion entirely.